Image Of Time In Shakespeare's Sonnets

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This paper aims to analyze the image of time in Shakespeare’s sonnets. The main body of the essay consists of three parts. The first part introduces the passage of time, which is portrayed through scenes’ appearance. The second part mainly gives an interpretation of the destructive power of time when it passes. The third part analyzes the dual nature of time with the images of summer and winter, day and night, sunrise and sunset. By interpreting the image of time in Shakespeare’s sonnets, it not only helps readers to get a further understanding of the poems, but also allows the readers to go deeper into the poet’s thoughts.

Key words: Sonnets; Shakespeare; Time

1. Introduction The English playwright,
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The Destructive Power of Time “For Shakespeare, then, time is no cloudy abstraction. Shakespeare fills these poems with trenchant images of predations and ravages of time” (Schoenfeldt, 2010, P.75). On top of the description of the time’s visible passage in his poetry, the poet portrays the image of time in its terrible devastation. Time is like a threat that carries weapons. There are eight sonnets which mention its “scythe”, “knife”, and ragged hand” (Sonnets 6, 12, 60, 63, 74, 95, 100, 123). By weapons, time scatters fear , causes ruin, and robs man’s…show more content…
In Shakespare’s sonnets, there is a repeated obsession of old age. Like an invisible hand operating a machine, time creeps into the veins of human flesh, replaces cells full of vigor with old ruined ones. Repeated images in his poetry include wrinkles on forehead and face. There are nine sonnets in which he mentions this image directly with different words: “deep-sunken eyes”, “trenches”, “wrinkle”, “furrow”, “the parallels in beauty 's brow” ( Sonnets 2, 3, 22, 60, 63, 77, 93, 100, 108). A number of other sonnets also refer to it indirectly. Wrinkles are not only external changes but also the signs of aging. As the young man gets old, time will wreck his good looks with wrinkles, which Shakespeare compares to the "trenches" that the army is digging in the battlefields. (Sonnet 2). The face which is the most realistic and sensitive is the central zone of changes. The image of time appears again and again which means it was something the poet always thought about. He feared that time would fill his lover’s brow with lines and wrinkles and drain his blood, like an unstoppable journey from his youthful morning to difficult night of old age and all of those forms of beauty that he now possesses will disappear. When wrinkles appear, a man has a terrible change of position: from the fresh morning to the dark night, from a wealthy king with authority to a penniless man (Sonnet 63), from a
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